Business, SMB

Congressman Chris Collins Addresses the Importance of Cyber Security Among Small, Medium Sized Businesses

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As a small business owner, I know how devastating a cyber attack can be on a company where majority of the resources go to just keeping the door open. That is why, as a Member of Congress, I am dedicated to raising awareness among small and medium sized business (SMB) owners as to the importance of cyber security.

Cyber-attacks on SMBs often times do not make headlines. As an SMB owner it is easy to be lulled into a false security, believing that a hacker is more likely to target a large corporation. And several years ago that may have been correct.

However, our nation’s digital infrastructure has now become an essential component of how small businesses operate and compete. This has made it easier than ever to store and access information from anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, this growth of information technology has also attracted a growing number of cyber-criminals looking to steal sensitive information, including intellectual property and personal financial information.

A recent survey conducted by McAfee and Office Depot found that 80 percent of SMBs don’t use data protection at all.  The survey also revealed that fourteen percent of SMBs haven’t implemented any security measures at all.  Other key findings include:

  • Only half of SMB owners surveyed use internet security
  • 45 percent do not secure company data on employee’s personal devices
  • 66 percent SMBs feel confident that their data was safe and secure from hackers

Unfortunately, unlike larger corporations, small businesses oftentimes do not have the ability to survive a cyber–attack, and statistics show that nearly 60 percent of small businesses will close within six months after a cyber-attack. Seventy-two percent of data breaches investigated by the Verizon Communications’ forensic analysis unit were focused on companies with less than 100 employees.

It is for these reasons that I remain committed to drawing attention to the importance of cyber-security among SMBs.  This past March, as Chairman of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology, I held a hearing to examine the increased volume and complexity of cyber-attacks on small business. Through this hearing I also gained a better understanding of what role the federal government should play in helping address cyber-security issues.

As technology continues to play a larger role in all SMB operations, I urge owners not to take risks when it comes to cyber-security and to dedicate the necessary resources to securing data. The success of your company may one day depend on it.

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